Tuesday, March 29, 2011

It's not about technology, it's about the information

The title to this blog post was something that David Warlick said on Saturday morning in his keynote to the ECIS IT Conference.  It's something I've been saying at school for the past year and a half.  It's the reason why I felt it was necessary to change the name of the IT (information technology) department to the ICTL (information and communication for teaching and learning) department and why I felt it was necessary for the library and IT to merge into one.

David pointed out that our students today have no real recollection of 20th century - they are 3rd millennium citizens. There is a difference between how our generation thinks about information and how our children think about it.  To them information is a raw material - its value is what they can do with it, how they can add to it, how they can make it more fun. Today our students are connecting media - actually they are doing things they have never been taught in schools - in some cases they have found people on line to help them do what they want to do.  David pointed out that one of the best things we can teach our children is how to teach themselves, that in a time of rapid change this is a skill they will carry with them their whole lives.

As teachers we are worried about our students relying too much on online sources such as wikipedia - many are concerned that it is not really accurate.  David asked: Is there information in the textbooks that is not accurate? He pointed out that if information is questionable that is a good thing - we should be asking questions about the answers we are finding.   Information literacy skills are as critical as being able to read the text. Our sense of being literate has expanded.

Photo Credit:  Information Overload by Verbeeldingskr8

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